Six years on, POSCO mega Orissa project still remains on paper

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Mumbai, Jun 21: Exactly six years after Korean steel giant POSCO signed an MoU with the Orissa government for its Rs 52,000-crore 12-MTPA project, the mega venture remains mired in uncertainty.

As the anti-steel plant agitation gains momentum, both POSCO and Orissa government have vowed to push ahead with the project in Jagathsinghpur district.

The country's biggest single FDI project till date has been beset by stiff protests from local communities against land acquisition. As if that was not enough, POSCO's MoU with the state government is get to lapse.

Despite obtaining a green clearance from the Union Environment Ministry, the project remains grounded in view of large-scale protests against land acquisition.

"We are committed to the Orissa project. We are hopeful and very optimistic about the plant," POSCO India Vice-President Vikas Sharan told PTI over phone.

On renewing the MoU, Sharan said, "you have to ask the Orissa government on this matter."

The MoU for the project was inked with the Orissa government in June 22, 2005 but no headway has been made since then.

The Pohang-headquartered steel major was to build a 3-million tonnes capacity steel plant, blast furnace or finex route during the first phase in Paradeep between 2007 and 2010 and expand the final production volume to 12 million tonnes.

The entire project requires 4,004 acres of land.

POSCO will now have to sign a fresh MoU and though the Naveen Patnaik government has an investor-friendly image, it remains to be seen how proactive the state government is in the present circumstances when protests are at their peak.


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